Commentary Magazine


Flotsam and Jetsam

Kirsten Gillibrand changes her tune on gun rights. The New York Daily News sneers: “A cynical newspaper guy might say Gillibrand was never so much pro-gun as pro-Kirsten, and the change only reflects a broader constituency than the rural hunters she represented as an upstate congresswoman.”

If she keeps this up, Maureen Dowd is going be writing GOP campaign ads: “It wasn’t only that Geithner’s own tax history — and his time as head of the New York Fed when all the bad stuff was happening on Wall Street, and when he left with nearly a half-million in severance — makes him a dubious messenger for the president’s pledge to keep the haves from further betraying the have-nots. It wasn’t only that Hank Paulson’s mumbo-jumbo and the Democrats’ bad judgment in accessorizing the stimulus bill with Grammy-level ‘bling, bling,’ as the R.N.C. chairman, Michael Steele, called it, have ripped Americans’ already threadbare trust.” Oh, maybe she just did.

It’s not just Rep. Jack Murtha — two other congressmen are under investigation, but you have to guess the party affiliation since the New York Times doesn’t tell you.

Ruth Marcus defends President Obama’s start on the grounds he’s been doing no worse than Presidents Clinton and Bush. Yikes, that’s a come down, isn’t it?

Does President Obama feel about Joe Biden the way President Eisenhower felt about Richard Nixon? I never thought it made much sense to denigrate your own VP. Doesn’t that only highlight what a bad choice you made?

You mean we’re going to have to raise taxes to pay off all this debt?

Jeb Bush seems to have some well thought out reasons for opposing the stimulus plan. Nah, just peddling “failed theories” and hoping the country tanks. At least that’s what the president keeps telling us.

Is the “thrill” of Obama on TV gone already? “In the end, maybe the worst result of him not being on the top of his rhetorical game is that he was never able to redeem his malaise-drenched message of what a crisis he inherited with any vision of better days ahead — no matter how far down the road they might be. Near the end of the session, he called himself an ‘eternal optimist’ and expressed his faith that we will ‘solve these problems.’ But he didn’t have his TV game together enough to make us believe.”

Good advice for the gloom-and-doom president: “Markets are not always rational, and, as reflections of human nature, they can be lectured into psychological depression.” But after telling us we’re in the worst economy since the Great Depression what’s he say now –”Never mind”? Ah, he “threads the needle.”

Camille Paglia sums up: “The administration’s coercive rush toward instant action, accompanied by apocalyptic pronouncements of imminent catastrophe, has put its own credibility on the line.”

Hillary Clinton has a “suggestion box.” Oh my, where to start? My top two: deliver his speech to the Muslim world in Baghdad and tell the president to stop apologizing to the Iranians. Okay one more: give an address about the rights of women in the Middle East.

An impressive interview by Mitt Romney: “Unfortunately, by letting Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid put this bill together, they’ve come up with something which is not going to work as effectively as if they would have done what, frankly, what John McCain proposed.” And Romney’s gotten funnier: “Well, I learned that there’s a very great rhetorical benefit in being able to set up straw men. . . and then knock them down. Dealing with the real problems associated with Barack Obama’s stimulus plan was not something which he was prepared to do, and you know, you understand why he’s doing what he is doing. He’s had a pretty tough couple of weeks here.”

The Republicans nearly eliminate the generic poll gap in Congress. (Well, when Nancy Pelosi is your opponent, really how hard could it be?)

Another Republican is onto the Census power grab by the White House.